2018 Eutsuk Lake wildfire (File photo)

We need to change our fire behaviour

Most wildfires in BC during April and May were caused by humans.

It’s pretty easy not to start a forest fire. Regardless, most wildfires in BC during April and May 2019 were suspected to be caused by humans.

Climate change is certainly a factor in recent years, and it will continue to be. Unusually dry conditions have caught people off guard, and their fires grew out of control.

These conditions are the new normal. Naturally occurring forest fires will of course continue, as they rightfully should, but in our changing climate, people who set fires need to be more careful.

RELATED: Seven small wildfires burning in B.C. as warm weather brings dry conditions

On April 1st, 2019, a wildfire started in Squamish because of a backyard burn. On May 10th a 12 hectare wildfire started in Sayward after a slash burn got out of control. On May 13th a 250 hectare wildfire broke out in Oysoyoos because of a vehicle fire that spread to adjacent grass.

If you go and visit BC Wildfire Service online and open the interactive map, you’ll see that an overwhelming majority of the fires are caused by humans.

Whether you believe in climate change or not (it’s not really a debate though), one thing is clear: the people of British Columbia need to be much more mindful of their fire behaviour. Most of us are sick and tired of watching our province burn year after year because of preventable fires. 2017 and 2018 were both record setting years for forest fires. Estimates say the cost of 2018 fires is $615 million.

In response to the past two record setting years, the BC provincial govrnment has increased their budget for wildifre spending by 58 percent, brining the total annual budget to $101 million. That money will go toward funding more crews, enhancng aerial capacity, and funding fire prevention programs.

RELATED: North Island communities plan for wildfires amid mounting anxiety

One of the biggest things the government says it can do better is build relationships with communities to educate people on fire risks, and better fire behaviour.

As time goes on, we will see hotter, dryer, longer summers. This will likely result in worsening fire seasons as well.

Now is the time to reflect on our fire behaviour, and change it for the better. We can’t afford any more years like the last two.

Just Posted

Updated – Firefighters contain Chilco Road garage fire in Crofton

About 15 Crofton and Chemainus Fire Department members on the scene

Flyers hockey program inducted into Sports Wall of Fame

Junior B teams attracted huge crowds in the early days of Fuller Lake Arena

Northbound lanes re-open along Malahat after small rockslide near Goldstream

Drivers asked to use caution, clean-up crews have finished on-site

Nearly 80 incredible artists, one extraordinary Vancouver Island tree

Bateman gallery’s OneTree 2019 honours the life of a single, tree salvaged from the Chemainus Valley

Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district starting from scratch on testing water for lead

Health Canada changed acceptable levels to 0.005 mg/L in March, prompting re-testing at schools

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

UPDATED: Vancouver Island’s Joe gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty case

Melissa Tooshley expected in court on Thursday in same case

Nineteen boats carrying invasive mussels stopped at B.C. borders

Waters of Columbia-Shuswap still test mussel-free

Woman ‘horrified’ after being told to trek 200 kilometres home from Kamloops hospital

‘I can’t get from Kamloops back to 100 Mile House injured, confused… no shoes, no clothes whatsoever’

Canadian universities encourage exchange students in Hong Kong to head home

UBC said 11 of its 32 students completing programs in Hong Kong have already left

Midget no more: Sweeping division name changes coming to minor hockey in Canada

Alpha-numeric division names will be used for the 2020-2021 season and beyond

B.C. pushes for greater industry ‘transparency’ in gasoline pricing

Legislation responds to fuel price gap of up to 13 cents

B.C. woman ordered to return dog to ex-boyfriend for $2,000

After the two broke up, documents state, they agree to share custody of the dog, named Harlen

B.C. petition calls for seat belts in new school buses

Agassiz bus driver collects 124,000 signatures in support

Most Read